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DIY Still?

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Doc Manhattan

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Have any of you brothers built your own stills?

We have backyard (a rarity in Manhattan), and I've been getting the itch to try (it's in my blood; my father's people were in the Whiskey Rebellion). But all the research I've done makes me think it's too big a production, and I might wind up with methylene poisoning for my troubles. I don't intend to sell it, so the legality is, shall we say, greyish. Any sage advice? Is it worth the hassle?
 

Tony Ferrill

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I'm from Nelson County, Kentucky.Bardstown,Kentucky.I have seen many(MANY) stills.The legal ones of course,were huge.The smaller and illegal ones were at the very least dangerous,smelly,and making crummy product,for the most part.I have had a case of GERD since I was 22 years old,thanks to some poison shine.Burned my esophagus irreparably!
There is no grey area;an illegal still will send you to prison-regardless if you sell your product or not.And a distiller's licensce is improbable.
You can,however,ferment about 10 gallons of beer a month,for home consumption only.And there is no beer commercially available that is better than the dark beer I can make in a bucket and then a glass carboy.You can check that out.
A home still cannot be hidden very easily,and is asking for trouble,IMO.
Respectfully,Tony
 

howellhandmade

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I once read some books on the subject. I believe distillation for home consumption is allowable up to a certain quantity. I'm not the source for that, I just remember reading it. If you start with the right ingredients and the right yeast, and cook and condense using copper ware, I don't think the risk of creating methanol is great. I once made corn whisky. Somewhat drinkable, but not really worth the trouble.

Jack
 

Natch

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I also home-brew quite a bit and it's fun, you can create beers that are wonderful and suit your taste, and you can stink up the house and really piss-off She Who Speaks Loudly. :mrgreen:

There are some good books, it's not hard to get started, and for about $200 or so you can set yourself up with just about everything you need to produce very good beer. Yes, you can start cheaper, but if you really put time and money into controlling the sterilization of everything the beer touches and get a wart chiller to drop it's temp. rapidly, it really makes for a much better and more consistent product.

Damn, I wish I was home right now so I could enjoy some "product".

Natch
 

adauria

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+1 on home brewing if you are itching to try to your hand at making adult beverages. It's fun, easy to get started, and you end up with something that tastes good. Leave the chemistry project to legal distillers and make some beer. In words of the great Charlie Papazian: Relax...don't worry...have a home brew.

-Andrew
 

Ol'Dawg

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Home distillation is a pain not worth fighting through--set up and operational costs; federal, state and local laws/permits etc, at least it was more than I wanted to for the cost per volume produced and consumed involved.

As others have mentioned, home brewing is a fun hobby without much set up cost nor worry about federal state and possibly local laws. Plus you can brew some excellent beers not available on your neighborhood store shelves. As a side note you can brew some hard apple cider, freeze it then pour off the remains as apple jack.

Jim
 
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